Why You Should Hire for Cultural Fit First
If Millennials have added anything to the conversation around hiring these days, it’s the idea that cultural fit matters.
You shouldn’t simply hire people who are competent and willing to do the work, but also who are excited to be with you and fit well into your established company culture.
What is a cultural fit?
An employee who is a cultural fit for your company is far more likely to be a “great” employee who has a future with you rather than the “good” employee who just manages to fill a role. This is because the employee who is a cultural fit is in alignment with the goals, beliefs, and attitudes of the company itself.
Your company culture may be a mirror of its customer-facing self. For anyone who’s ever flown Southwest Airlines, for example, it’s clear that the staff knows how to have fun and that they’re given full permission by the company to do just that. If you still need convincing, check out this safety announcement from a Southwest flight attendant, delivered in late 2016.
But perhaps your clients don’t get to see your staff in the highly personal way that Southwest employees interact with their clients. In that case, make sure you have a good sense of what the company culture is and how it impacts your company brand. If you can’t answer that right away, no worries! Think about the top three or four behaviors that are critical for success at your firm. That’s a good base to start from.
What are some interview approaches to use?
Hopefully, you’re not one of those employers who uses absolutely useless cliche interview questions like, “Tell me your greatest weakness,” etc. But apart from asking good and thoughtful questions, you may not realize that it’s important to ask unexpected and unusual questions as well. Here are a few suggestions:
- What does a typical weekend look like for you?
- What values are important to you?
- What type of team do you thrive in?
- Based on what you’ve seen and heard so far, how would you define our company’s culture?
- Why does the role you’re applying for have meaning for you?
In addition to questions, perhaps consider adding a personality test to the process, or even allow for some “white space” time in the interview, where you allow the candidate to guide and even lead the discussion. See how they perform in the absence of direction.
Why does this matter?
Ultimately this is an end-to-end issue, meaning, it’s just as important for the employee to be a cultural fit for you as it is for your company to be a cultural fit for the employee. When people are aligned with the values and practices of a company, they’re less likely to see work as some disconnected part of their day: a location they go to in order to earn a paycheck.
They’ll see their work as an extension of their life. They’ll stay with you longer…and they’ll inspire employees around them to greater heights. All of these results can only enliven and strengthen your company culture.